Six Nations 2020: England beat Ireland to keep title hopes alive
England ended since they rediscovered a portion of their World Cup type to reignite their title hopes Ireland’s Grand Slam hopes in brutal fashion.
Following Irish mistakes plus two conversions and a penalty from Owen Farrell gave England a commanding 17-0 lead first-half tries from Elliot Daly and George Ford.
Ireland struck back with a try from Robbie Henshaw but with Johnny Sexton wayward they never threatened a comeback.
Luke Cowan-Dickie drove for England’s third largest midway through the second half, together with replacement Andrew Porter’s late try no kind of consolation for Ireland.
Together with Wales at home in a fortnight before a trip to Italy, Eddie Jones’ men will think they could finish the championship in style, even though they might require Ireland defeat France in Dublin and to get them a favour.
For the men in green and their head coach Andy Farrell that it turned out to be a chastening day, all of the optimism created by the wins Scotland and Wales leaching off before the match was gone in a screen which was ponderous.
England started at a true lick going down the left before Andrew Conway hauled down him and hitting holes.
And the payoff came after Ben Youngs stuck a grubber kick through, Sexton dithered and juggled within his very own in-goal area and Ford captured on the ball to get down.
Sexton then mis-kicked horribly with a penalty from 30 metres out and England set camp up .
Jonathan Joseph danced in midfield after a clearing kick from England’s forwards and CJ Stander and Conor Murray since Maro Itoje.
With the men in white shaped to go wide, just for Ford to soda another kick, a penalty coming – and this time it had been Daly diving onto the ball as Irish palms moved to heads.
The scoreboard reflected England dynamic with ball , the gulf between both sides and ferocious Ireland error-ridden and laboured, at defence.
And Sexton’s gloomy half was compounded when he was penalised Farrell stroking over his kick to give England their main half-time contribute.
Ireland had to improve – and belatedly they did. Possession was given away by an England knock-on in the resume and some territory was finally chiseled out by the visitors too.
England was able to stop an Ireland driving maul from a close in but the strain kept coming.
Ireland found distance in the corner for Henshaw to burrow by two defenders and on the line, chosen for the scrum and won a penalty in the front of the posts.
However, Sexton shanked the transformation as he had the penalty and the strain ebbed away as Eddie Jones threw on Cowan-Dickie, Ellis Genge and Charlie Ewels.
England’s scrum, powerful throughout, started to dominate and the penalties started to mount.
Farrell kicked into the corner, the forward put up the maul in Cowan-Dickie and then the line-out by Jonny May and Sam Underhill forcing him to roll for England’s third try peeled away.
May appeared to be carried out from Henshaw after kicking the ball ahead, only for referee Jaco Peyper to wave play with and was clear in his own after grabbing a ball.
And because the match stumbled in the direction of the line, Porter rumbled over out for a try that left little difference to the day of Ireland.
A bravura performance in the rear row from a person more commonly found in the next row. He made 14 tackles and eight carries from the hour he was on the pitch, so setting the tone for a England performance. And all on his 31st birthday while wearing a shiner of a black eye.
England: Daly; May, Tuilagi, Farrell (capt), Joseph; Ford, Youngs; Marler, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Kruis, Lawes, Underhill, Curry.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie Stuart Ewels Heinz, Slade.
Ireland: Larmour Henshaw, Aki, Stockdale Murray; Healy, Herring, Furlong, Toner, Ryan, O’Mahony, van der Flier, Stander.
Replacements: Kelleher, Kilcoyne, Porter Doris Byrne, Earls.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Touch judges: Alexandre Ruiz & Romain Poite
TMO: Marius Jonker